The Scottish government has confirmed that asylum seekers and refugees will be handed the vote under plans to expand the franchise.
Parliamentary business minister Joe Fitzpatrick told MSPs on Wednesday: “it is right that people who make their lives here and contribute to society should have the right to vote, wherever they are from,” stating the government’s position on a consultation to expand the vote which was launched in December.
Scotland has already made use of powers devolved in 2016 which allow politicians to make big changes to the country’s electorate, with its parliament voting unanimously to lower the age of franchise to 16 in the same year.
Asked by the open borders-backing Scottish Greens, who have campaigned for giving every migrant the vote whether the government’s plans include asylum seekers, Fitzpatrick confirmed that extending the franchise “should include those who were welcomed here as refugees and people going through the process of seeking asylum”.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) minister said: “Scotland is a welcoming country and our intention to extend the opportunity to vote to all those legally resident in Scotland, whatever their place of birth, I think should extend to refugees and asylum seekers.”
His comments were welcomed by Green MSP for West Scotland Ross Greer, a tireless campaigner for mass migration who, on the one year anniversary this week of the Manchester terror attack in which 22 people were killed and 139 wounded, drew attention to his comment piece on the bombing, which argued the UK must open its borders to the migrants arriving in Europe on boats.